New findings by chemical engineering researchers could improve renewable energy production

Regents Professor Lanny Schmidt (chemical engineering and materials science) and his university colleagues-graduate students James Salge, Brady Dreyer and Paul Dauenhauer-invented a new process that could significantly improve the efficiency of fuel production from renewable energy sources. The process yields a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide gases called synthesis gas, which is now used to make synthetic diesel fuel (dimethyl ether, also a substitute for propane gas) and ammonia, a constituent of fertilizer. Hydrogen is also the energy source for fuel cells and may someday be burned in car engines instead of fossil-based gasoline. The research is published in the Nov. 3 issue of Science.

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